During the University’s online celebration of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary, the team at the NJHCN participated in a Swift and Intentional Progress “SIP” Talk with representatives from Table to Table. The Talk discussed issues surrounding food security and gardening, both in general and specifically during the coronavirus pandemic.
As the coronavirus lock-down continues, the team has been busy working remotely to get a better idea of the nature of the food needs of our current and prospective students. Our team worked to develop choropleth maps detailing trends in anticipated student food security using USDA, DOE, and Census data, in anticipation of our planned campus food environment audit. We were thankful to get to work with recent graduate Kelsey Bent, MPH, CEHS, from our Public Health graduate program. Kelsey helped our team get a much better understanding of the potential food needs of students prior to applying to higher education.
Now more than ever, we can expect that students may be at risk of experiencing food insecurity while pursuing their higher education. As the weather warms up, the Campus Community Garden will be growing produce for donation through a partnership with our on-campus food pantry, the Red Hawk Pantry. This enables the garden to provide fresh produce to students who may be in need during this unique time.
We also hope to take advantage of the warming weather to begin our campus walkability and pedestrian safety audits. We plan to identify potentially high traffic and high risk areas, and make our campus as safe and accessible as possible for the greater campus community.